Some Lesser Known Facts About Lionel Messi
- Does Lionel Messi smoke?: Not Known
- Does Lionel Messi drink alcohol?: Yes
- He had developed a passion for sports at an early age and joined a local club Grandoli at the age of 4, where he was coached by his father.
- Messi was greatly affected by his grandmother’s death; as it was she who accompanied him to training and matches in his childhood. To give her a tribute, Messi celebrates his goals by looking up and pointing to the sky.
- On 16 November 2003, he made his first-team debut at the age of 16 years, 4 months and 23 days, when he came in the 75th minute during a friendly against José Mourinho’s Porto.
- After seeing Messi playing at the age of 16, Ronaldinho told his teammates that Messi would become an even better player than himself.
- Messi holds passports for both Spain and Argentina and even after spending much time in Spain, he turned down the offer to play with the Spanish national team.
- Carles Rexach (Barcelona Coach) was so impressed with Messi that he wanted to sign him up without wasting any time, so, he signed a contract with Messi on a Napkin Paper; as at that time, only that was what Messi had.
- In 2005, he made his first international debut against Hungary and that too only for 47 seconds; as he was shown a Red Card.
- Spanish Media calls him La Pulga (“The Atomic Flea”) because he has a lower centre of gravity because of his short stature, which gives him greater agility, allowing him to change directions more quickly.
- He is the only player who runs faster with the ball than he does without it.
- He is predominantly a left-footed player.
- Messi is considered to be the best dribbler in the world.
- Messi has been compared to Diego Maradona, throughout his career.
- He does not sing the National Anthem of Argentina.
- In 2015-16, Forbes magazine listed him world’s second highest-paid athlete (after Cristiano Ronaldo).
- In March 2013, a solid gold replica of his left foot weighing 55 lb, went on sale in Japan to raise funds for 2011 tsunami and earthquake victims.
- Filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia made a documentary “Messi” about his life, which was premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August 2014.
- Throughout his career, he has been involved with charitable activities and was also appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in March 2010.
- He also founded his own charitable organization “Leo Messi Foundation” which supports education, health, and sports for children.
- On 26 June 2016, after Messi missed a penalty in the final shootout in the Copa America Final and Argentina lost to Chile, he announced his retirement from international football.
- Later, he reversed his decision of retirement and led his country to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
- His longtime girlfriend-turned-wife, Antonella Roccuzzo, is the cousin of his best friend since childhood, Lucas Scaglia, who is also a footballer.
- In 2018, Forbes listed him world’s highest paid athlete (with $84 million salary/winnings) after Floyd Mayweather.
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